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Using Export To Excel in Dynamics AX to Create Reporting Data Sources

Posted by Author, Curator, Visually Impared Squirrel Literacy Advocate & Dynamics AX Technical Solution Professional (TSP) at Microsoft on

The Export to Excel button may not seem like the most impressive feature of Dynamics AX, but don’t be fooled. If you look closely, you will notice that the when the data is exported to Excel, the data is still linked to Dynamics AX through the Excel Add-In, which means that once it is in your workbook, you can refresh it at any time without having to re-export. Also, if you want to add additional fields after the export from AX, then you can do that directly from Excel. This means that you can export data from any screen within Dynamics AX and then create reports and analysis within Excel that you can use over and over again without any additional work.

In this walkthrough we will show how you can use the Export to Excel function within Dynamics AX to create live worksheets in Excel.

Creating a Linked Worksheet using Export To Excel

Exporting data from Dynamics AX to Excel is as simple as pushing a button. Once the data is there you can refresh it at any time, which is the invaluable part.

How to do it…

To export data to Excel, and how you can manipulate the data once it’s there, follow these steps:

  1. From any grid form in Dynamics AX, click on the Export to Microsoft Excel button within the ribbon bar.
  2. When all of the data has been transferred over to Excel, switch to the Dynamics AX tab, and you will notice that the buttons for refreshing, filtering, and also editing the fields will be enabled, showing that you have data linked back to Dynamics AX.
  3. If you click on the Fields button in the Design group of the Dynamics AX ribbon bar, you will be able to see the source query that was used to extract the data from Dynamics AX. You can drag and drop any additional fields over to the worksheet.
  4. If you click the Fields button to return to view mode, and then the Refresh button within the Data group of the Dynamics AX ribbon bar, then your data will be updated, including any of the new fields that you added to the worksheet.

How it Works…

If you add new data into Dynamics AX…

And refresh the data, then the new records will be returned to the worksheet.

Exporting Filtered Data To Excel

Another feature of the Export to Excel function is that if you filter the data within the Dynamics AX forms and then export the data, then the filter will be configured within the Dynamics AX Add-On as well, filtering out the data that Excel retrieves.

How to do it…

To export a filtered query to Excel, follow these steps:

  1. Add a filter condition to the data within Dynamics AX that you want to export and then click on the Export to Microsoft Excel button.

How it Works…

If you click on the Filter button within the Data group of the Dynamics AX ribbon bar, then you will notice that the filter from the Dynamics AX form is automatically applied to your worksheet query.

Adding Additional Tables to Exports

Some of the table forms within Dynamics AX source data from a number of different tables, and all of these additional linked tables are also available to you through the fields list within Excel after you export the data there. This means that you may be able to query more information than the base data that is shown in the export.

How to do it…

To can add data from additional tables after exporting tables from Dynamics AX to Excel, follow these steps:

  1. Start off by exporting data from Dynamics AX to Excel by clicking on the Export to Microsoft Excel button. In this example we are exporting data from the Customers form.
  2. After the data has been exported, if you click on the Fields button within the Design group of the Dynamics AX ribbon bar, then you will see the additional linked tables at the bottom.
  3. You can add the fields to the existing query, or create a disconnected query by dragging the field over to the worksheet with a column separating the original query. When you are finished, click on the Fields button in the Design group of the Dynamics AX ribbon bar to exit design mode.

How it Works…

Click the Refresh button within the Data group of the Dynamics AX ribbon bar to refresh the information, and all of your data from the sub-table will be returned in addition to the original data in the query.

Now you can use all of the features within Excel to present the information however you like.

This is too cool.

Summary

Almost any ERP system is able to export data to Excel, but to have it linked back to Dynamics AX automatically so that the data is automatically refreshed is not so common.

Any user is able to create their own data extracts, without having to know anything about the database, making it possible for them to:

  • Create personal analysis dashboards
  • Run statistical calculations on the data
  • Create custom reports for others in the organization

The opportunities for the users to take advantage of this are huge, so give it a go.

Want to learn more?

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